Vietnam is facing the unbalanced sex ratio at birth (SRB), with about 40,800 female births estimated to be missing every year, according to the State of the World Population Report 2020.
|A village-based midwife gives health care guidance to a mother in Muong Nhe district, the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.|
The report was launched on July 17 in Hanoi by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Gender equality has improved in Vietnam over the years, but gender-biased sex selection remains persistent and has been identified as the major cause of an imbalance in the SRB in the country, it found.
The skewed SRB in Vietnam was first identified in 2004, and since 2005, the imbalance towards more boys has rapidly increased and reached 111.5 boys per 100 girls in 2019 as indicated in the 2019 Census, against the biologically normal SRB of 105.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Pham Ngoc Tien, director of the Gender Equality Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said: “Vietnam has always considered gender equality as both a goal and a driving force for sustainable development. We have built and continued to improve the legal framework to better work in this important and relatively unfamiliar area.”
Bringing SRB to the natural balance is one of the goals of the National Strategy on Gender Equality for the 2021 - 2030 period which is being developed to submit to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for approval this year, he said.
Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, said: “We must put an end to son preference and the undervaluing of girls in our efforts to promote gender equality in the country. Vietnam is making progress, but the progress must be accelerated within the context of the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development Goals.”
“In this regard, men have a special role to play. I call on Vietnamese men to raise the value of girls and demand equal treatment and equal rights. In particular, we need men and boys to support this effort,” she added.
At the launch, the Government and UNFPA affirmed their commitment and called for urgent action to end this harmful practice.
In the world, an estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation this year. As many as 33,000 girls under age 18 will be forced into marriages, usually to much older men. Also, an extreme preference for sons over daughters in some countries has fueled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect that leads to their death as children, resulting in 140 million missing females.
UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said: “We must tackle the problem by tackling the root causes, especially gender-biased norms. We must do a better job of supporting communities’ own efforts to understand the toll these practices are taking on girls and the benefits that accrue to the whole of society by stopping them.”
UN official calls for end to preference for sons in Vietnam
Naomi Kitahara, chief representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam, has called for an end to the preference for boys over girls in the country, to promote gender equality.
She made the appeal at the launch ceremony for the State of the World Population Fund Report 2020 in Hanoi on July 17.
Titled “Against my will, defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality”, the report was released worldwide on June 30 and highlights at least 19 rites - ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing - that are considered human rights violations.
The report published in Vietnam focuses on gender selection on the basis of gender bias, which has existed for decades with a preference for boys over girls, according to the UN official.
She pointed to social problems resulting from a gender imbalance, such as rape, forced sex, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and early marriage.
She also cited figures of the national population and housing census in 2009, which found that the sex ratio at birth in Vietnam remains high, with 111.5 boys per 100 girls, as compared with the natural or normal rate of 105-106 boys per 100 girls.
The State of the World Population Report estimates that every year, 40,800 female births are missing in Vietnam. It means that 40,800 girls are not born every year in Vietnam because they were found to be a girl.
Speaking at the ceremony, Pham Ngoc Tien, head of the Department of Gender Equality at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the Vietnamese Government considers gender equality a goal and a driver of sustainable development, adding that it is completing a legal framework to better the work. VNA